Backup Software Question: HP Data Protector Suite

Hello EE,

We have been looking at backing up to a hardware appliance v.s. to tape and in this process we are looking at replacing our Symantec with EMC Networker, however corporate is recommending HP Data Protector.

Is anyone familiar with this software and can offer any opinions on
1. Pros/Cons
2. Other software used they prefer this to?
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Thomas RushCommented:
I've found HP Data Protector to be a very full-featured product that is both powerful and easy to use.  The pricing also tends to be better than some of the bigger names out there.  Another pro is that corporate says to use it.  :)  Having a single backup software standard can immensely simplify some problems, and greatly decrease your costs.   Data Protector has both a Cell Manager to direct backups over the local backup unit, and an optional "Manager of Managers" that lets you centralize catalogs across an enterprise and move data between cells.

(By way of full disclosure, I used to work for HP; I now work for a competitor in the backup and data management software industry)

One thing to consider about Networker is that -- from what I've seen -- it hasn't gotten a lot of mind share at EMC... whereas Data Protector has been actively developed and expanded, and still has a full roadmap including some really interesting things around prioritizing and building fault tolerance into backup jobs, and predicting problems before they happen.

HP cons might include that it's not got a big market share.

Out of curiosity, which backup appliance are you looking at?

While backing up to disk can significantly decrease the amount of data you need to put on tape, I don't recommend people get rid of tape entirely.  It's superb in at least these situations:
- Legal compliance, being able to show that data written was not changed in any way
- Performance of single streams: LTO-6 has a native speed of 160MB/sec, and can do compression to hit as much as 400MB/sed (if the data compresses that well!).  Disk can't come close for a single stream... but can do as well or better for multiple simultaneous data streams.
- Encryption: It's built into the tape drive, so it can happen with no performance hit.   Depending on your architecture, keys can be managed by the backup application, by the library, or globally by a key manager... this may be a bit more challenging with disk, today.
- Power: a tape, once written, can maintain its data with no power other than basic HVAC, while disk has to be kept spinning.  
- Density: You can store more TB of data in the same amount of physical space than you can with disk.
- Archiving: You can keep data on tape for decades (again, with little or no additional power)... unpowered disks are not rated to maintain data... I wouldn't trust them for more than six months, personally.
operationsITAuthor Commented:

Do you know a good link for the features as I'm wanting to know if it can do:
1.  VM and Standalone server backups
2. Instant recovery on another hardware i.e. if server were lost
3. source side deduplication for backups across the WAN

We would like to backup to a Data Domain as we have that now in house just looking for new software and for many of the reasons it will be our 30 day retention and yes we will continue to do month end/year end to tape.
Thomas RushCommented:
1) Absolutely does both physical and virtual machine backups.  Can do granular recovery of VMware for sure; I am not sure what the status of Hyper-V is.
2) It's not clear what you mean by "instant recovery" -- it can recover to different hardware.  It can, I believe, with recent versions do an 'instant on' recovery of disk backups of VMs, where it loads enough of the system into memory to 'boot' the machine.  From there, it is simultaneously running the machine and copying the system to the restore target -- reads of new or changed data come from the restore target; reads of unchanged data comes from the backup (unless that particular block has already been restored).
3) Absolutely can do source-side deduplication and replication without rehydration.  Data Protector in conjunction with HP's StoreOnce appliances has about the most flexible deduplication you can imagine -- it can dedupe in the backup appliance, in the backup server, or at the source server through HP's technology they call Catalyst.  Since HP has only one dedupe engine for backup (unlike EMC with both Avamar and Data Domain technology), the data can be replicated without re-hydration throughout the enterprise.  

If you're going to use Data Protector with Data Domain, you ought to check out these two links -- Data Protector and Data Domain and this white paper from HP:
which should help you understand how the two work together, and recent integrations added to Data Protector to help it work better with Data Domain.

That said, the StoreOnce appliances from HP are worth a shot from a cost, performance, and flexibility standpoint, unless you're locked into Data Domain (for instance, HP allows you to encrypt some data stores on a device and not others if you wish; Data Domain requires the whole appliance to be encrypted or not encrypted -- no granularity -- and with a higher performance hit, too).

Using a device like Data Domain or StoreOnce absolutely makes sense for 30 - (say) 180-day retention.  Glad you're still putting the long-term and archive data on tape.
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operationsITAuthor Commented:
Ok last question and thank you for all the input!

Our corporate uses Veeam for the virtual and HP Data Protector for Physical to a Data Domain.
The reason for my question is I'm not familiar with Data Protector and trying to understand is it more complicated than Veeam and missing features Veeam has otherwise why would somebody pay for a second software if the first does it all?
Thomas RushCommented:
You ask:
>  why would somebody pay for a second software if the first does it all?

Among the possible answers are:
- Inertia
- One product doesn't do it all
- One product can do it all, but a second product does some things better
- Pricing may make two solutions cheaper than one
- Short term decision where some people know prod 1, others know prod 2, and there's a lack of training resources to get them unified
- Good sales reps!   Or, at least one of them is good.
- Long-term purchasing agreement may make the less-desired product a sunk cost, and it would cost more to move to a unified environment than the company wants to spend

Probably many other possibilities, too.  You would have to ask the decision makers at your company to know the real 'why', as opposed to the possibles.

As far as these particular products:
Data Protector came from a physical server space, but they've done fantastic things in the virtual backup world, and at a rough guess, I'd say that they're very close to Veeam for virtual machine backups.  Data protector can absolutely do some things that Veeam cannot when it comes to backing up physical machines, and in integrating with HP arrays like 3PAR.

Veeam started out as a virtual machine only backup, and an inexpensive choice.  It's added functionality it originally lacked, like the ability to back up to tape, and the ability to backup physical servers.  But I wouldn't consider it as an enterprise backup yet, as those features aren't 'all there' yet.  It's also gotten much more expensive (so I hear) over the last few years, and so lost some of its price advantage.

One of Data Protector's real strengths if you're using HP StoreOnce as a backup target (and much of this should apply to Data Domain appliances as well, now) is how the two are integrated.  They both use the same deduplication algorithm, so you can backup once and replicate all over without having to re-hydrate the data.    In addition, Data Protector allows you superb flexibility of *where* you do the dedupe, including at the application server, on the backup server, on the target hardware appliance, or on a target SW appliance.  You can even perform the dedupe at a branch office but not store data there (in essence, the server at the branch does the chunking and hashing of blocks, then asks the backup target if it's seen that particular chunk, only sending it if it's something new).

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operationsITAuthor Commented:
Great information!
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